Review of Lacuna Coil’s ‘Black Anima’

Track-by-Track Review by Joshua Becker | September 19th 2019

Before beginning the review, I want to preface, listening to the tracks and paying close attention to the lyrics, this is an extremely personal album for the band, maybe even more so than their previous records, and as such, it commands the utmost respect. So often, we, the media forget these albums are very personal for the artists, and extremely negative reviews truly hurt someone who puts their heart and soul, quite literally into their works. You can say something isn’t good in a way that is both honest but also respectful. So often, I have seen some absolutely awful and despicable album reviews. This will NOT be one of them, I promise you that.

At any rate, I want to start by saying your favorite Italian metal band is back, swinging right out of the gate, that dark, heavy metal vibe you all have been asking for is here, complete with more growls from Andrea, more introspection from Cristina, some really high notes from her as well, a lot heavier drums and guitar, and yes, yes, dear fans there are some Italian words in there, which I know many have requested. 🙂 

Lacuna Coil’s sound has darkened so much over the years, and especially in this album, it most definitely has a very heavy vibe to it, heavier than any album they have released. When Cristina said in an interview this album would be much darker than previous records, she really meant it. 

Each track you listen to, even if it is a “ballad” of some sort, you can still feel that darkness, that heavy-sounding  metal-type of vibe, especially with how many times Andrea has deep, low growls in the tracks.

I can only guess the band went through some extremely dark times during the recording and composition of this album to make the sound as dark as it has become. The analyses you are about to read are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the meanings to the band.

Music is one of those things where even if you cannot fully understand what an artist means in their work, you can still apply it to your life, and as Cristina put it to me in the interview on “Dark Adrenaline”, “it’s a cool thing about music that everyone can give a different interpretation according to the moments they’re going through.”

“Anima Nera” (Prologue)

This is the first track on the album, and can be seen as a precursor for what is to follow. An interesting thing to note is that it is the only song on the album that is completely a ballad, with no heavy guitars or drums in the background.

Even though it is not a heavy guitar, bass, and drum track, it still has a darker metal feel to it, unlike any ballad Lacuna Coil has ever done.

The track opens with some sounds in the background that sound very rapid, and the tone of them seems like it may be Cristina running from someone or something.

With a soft-toned piano in the background, and towards the end of the track sounds a bit like a siren in the background, which further may prove my theory about the running.

The first words Cristina sings are “I like to bury myself in pain, you know what I mean,” This is a very powerful statement as it suggests she is used to experiencing the pains of being human, and she has decided, even if it causes a delirious state of mind, she is going to embrace the pains and use them to their full advantage.

One might even say she sounds possessed or under the influence of some dark entity or force she is struggling to deal with, especially because while she is singing, it sounds like her voice has a higher pitch to it. 

Ending the track she gets lower-pitched saying in Italian “what remains of my black soul“, signifying this experience she went through has her question how much of her soul, which is already black from the pains of the past, is left. Perhaps the pain she felt has overtaken her, she no longer feels alive anymore.

“Sword of Anger”

As the name would suggest, this track comes right out with a heaviness; conveying anger, the guitars, the drums, such a powerful, thrashing beginning. Andrea being the first on the track, growling with such force you can really sense the emotion he is trying to convey. 

The first words out, “We are the Anima“, which may convey the band are the soul, the driving force of their lyrics, and going through not only this song, but all the songs on the album, you can feel that driving force that keeps them going.

As we know, without soul in music, you cannot get your point across as a band or musician, and you may even come across as disingenuous. No matter what song you listen to by Lacuna Coil, (and as a fan of over 10 years, I have heard every song, including bonus tracks), I can honestly say they pride themselves on their work, and they put every bit of heart and soul they can into their music.

After all, Cristina told me they don’t write about fantasy stuff, this is therapeutic for them, a day-to-day diary of their lives, what they experience in life, and how they are handling it.

With that being said, we get to the chorus “we don’t heed you, the sword of anger will cut in the deep.” What is the sword about, and could it be a metaphor for an ending to something that angered them? We will get back to that in just a second.

When you near the end of the song, Cristina says a line which gave me goose bumps: “There’s more to us that you will never see. What is meant by what she said? Who’s to say? Just like the meaning of 1.19, the band will always hold the most personal moments in life to themselves.

Right before we get back to the chorus, Cristina is vocalizing and the notes are so high and they remind me of a fight, and perhaps, this “sword of anger” is destroying their enemies or the dark and painful memories they have experienced.

“Reckless”

The second single, released on Friday, the 13th of September, called “Reckless” begins with what sounds like a Güiro, (which, if you don’t know is a Latin American musical instrument with a stick and ridges which creates a “ratchet” sound). In addition, you hear what sounds like guitar strings being plucked in a low tone. Then the thrashing of the drums and guitar come in.

You can hear a very haunting sound in the background, almost paranormal in nature. Cristina enters, “tonight, it’s going down, to hell with all the innocence…” 

Tonight, it’s going down” could mean no holds barred, they are going all in. “To hell with all the innocence” could mean maintaining an innocence could be holding them back, and they will do whatever it takes to get what they want.

Later on the chorus kicks in “you make me, make me reckless“, which means to me someone or something makes them act on impulse without thinking of the consequences, taking that pain they were caused and turning it into something. After all, they say the greatest inspiration comes from pain and agony we face in our daily lives.

The best thing to do with pain is channel it into something artful, whether it be a song, poetry, or even a drawing, just let it out. It is completely human to express your feelings, in any way that you relate to, and in any way that makes you feel comfortable and sheltered.

“Layers of Time”

This is the very first single released by the band on July 26th.

The song begins with what sounds like a clock ticking in the background, suggesting the concept of time, and how it cannot be changed, there are no time machines to get back what was stolen from us.

Next, you hear an electronic sound in the background getting closer and closer until you hear Andrea belting out the words “layers of time“. All the while, heavy guitars and drums can be heard in the background.

Cristina sings the chorus: “victims of time, we take our chance again, our road is paved with pain, the past we can’t rewind.” This seems to be another example of what I mentioned earlier about the concept of time fleeting, and never being able to change the past, and mistakes we may have made. Especially the line “the past we can’t rewind.” Even though time has been stolen from us, we will not relent, we will never surrender.

The bridge leading up to the chorus loses the heavy guitars and drums and has a ballad-like feel to it with much softer guitar tones in the background.

Cristina starts singing “twisting, turning, through the baptism of fire, burning, angels, falling, through the spiral of time“. Almost like being trapped somewhere, like a maze with fire all around, angels falling and being lost to time. 

Finally, she says “Through layers of time, we’ll live again, forget the past, we’ll be alright.” Whatever dark place she was in, it seems she made it out, for now at least, as we get back to the chorus and the end of the song.

“Apocalypse”

The next track “Apocalypse” begins with vocalising in the background and what sounds like a very ominous piano organ in the background. You think it is going to be a ballad, as the song starts off slow, but surprise, it’s not.

The guitar and drums play heavy while the vocalisation continues in the background. Andrea says “while you pray, we don’t care.” This could be about death, praying for someone to be saved, hoping and wishing they will be okay, and death comes.

Death doesn’t care about prayer as it is inevitable, just like time, you can never change either one, unfortunately, and we all have experienced loss, and we wish we could have saved our loved ones, or at the very least spent more time with them before we lost them. If only we had more time.

A different interpretation could be against an enemy. “While you pray, we don’t care” could mean “saving yourself will not work and it is a waste of time trying because we will destroy you and nothing will save you.”

Next you hear: “Apocalypse it’s going down, this time, and I’m surprisingly alive.” This may signify something has already happened and they are surprised they’ve made it through the flames, while scathed, they still made it.

Going through the lyrics of this track, I can’t help but feel there may be a guilt that is felt for being alive while someone else is not.

Towards the end of the song, you hear Cristina sing “looking through the hourglass“, further in “let the fate decide, right here“. 

Could this mean the hourglass is relating back to “Layers of Time” where time is fleeting once again, and they are staring into what time is left, then just say “to hell with it, what is meant to be will be, we cannot change that?”

Even though it pains us, we have to keep living, even those long gone, we can still mourn them, but we cannot stop the inevitable.

“Now or Never”

“Now or Never” starts off with a very melancholic violin, and you hear crackling in the background, though the crackling is very subtle. The heaviness rolls in, with Andrea growling “walk me out of here, take me away.” This suggests to me, there are moments they do not want to deal with, take them away from the pain, of the hurt they have experienced.

It could also be a metaphor for “the beast” since that is mentioned in the song. It could go back to a previous track in which like Cristina, maybe someone else is also self-blaming and appears to be their own worst enemy.

This song is very fast-paced, with the heavy riffs and drums, but there are also moments when the song slows down a bit.

Cristina sings “now or never, the time is right, out of your shelter“. This could be seen as a metaphor that they need to face what has been haunting them, and keeping them sheltered. If they don’t do it soon, it suggests that it could be too late and there will be more pain, more agony, it’s time to get back to the life they once lived. Forget the pains of the past, because as unfortunate as it is, we all have to move on, or at least try to at some point in our lives.

There is a part in the song when Cristina and Andrea collaborate, they are exuding a powerful moment together where it sounds like Cristina is essentially screaming and Andrea is growling, both with such force it almost seems like a war cry while in battle.

There’s no mercy for the innocent“. This could suggest just like in a battle or war, the innocent, if they are in the way, they will be hurt and nothing can be done about it.

They have not, and will not ever give up the fight, no matter how much pain, and how many tears they have shed, and whoever has wronged them will pay, even if an innocent person gets in the way.

“Under the Surface”

This track is very fast, to the point it signifies a passion burning deep inside. Heavy guitars, drums, this is an overall very heavy, fast-paced track.

There’s a line at the end of the track’s beginning: “but the smile is fake, there’s much more that hides behind, all your senses are compelled to lie“. This means, to me, someone has lied to them, or deceived them in some way, but they know that smile is fake, the person’s actions or feelings are fake, they can see right through them.

There is another line in the track “everything feels perfect when you’re spinning lies.” This seems to go together with what I mentioned earlier about deception, lies, a facade of someone or something that has wrong them.

It continues “but deep under the surface the battle comes alive“. Is this “battle” a metaphor for the fight that is about to ensue between they and the person or thing that wronged them? Does “under the surface” mean deep within their soul? 

They feel the anger building, they feel that they are so pained, so much aggression is coming to a point where they are ready to go in swinging, ready to go in with everything they have to teach the wrongdoer a lesson? 

As you progress more into the song, it seems that they don’t want to put up a fight, they want to be sheltered, they just want it all to go away, and they will fight only if they have absolutely no other choice.

The last lines of the song are “you never stood a chance, so keep on burying your head in the sand“. Perhaps this means the wrongdoer cannot hide anymore, and everything around that person or thing is collapsing, so bury your head in the sand because now everyone can see what you truly are.

You are naked in the eyes of others, no more hiding, everything about you has been revealed and you will suffer, with nothing, and no one to help you as you live the rest of your days in loneliness and isolation.

“Veneficium” (Poisoning or sorcery in English)

This was a very interesting track to listen to, not only because of Latin sung in the beginning, but because it sounds very symphonic, slightly operatic, which I have definitely never heard from Lacuna Coil- this track was a huge surprise to me. It kind of reminded me of something Tarja or Within Temptation would do. (Speaking of, if you have not heard the duet between Cristina & Tarja on Tarja’s new album ‘In the Raw’ do so now. The song is ‘Goodbye Stranger’.)

I can only assume the operatic vocals are indicative of their native Italy, as Italy, as we all know is extremely famous for opera. In fact, a little history lesson: the first known opera was in Florence, Italy in 1598.

We start with the operatic-feel in the background, followed by Latin, some of what is said is “nova vis ad diem novum nascitur“, which, when translated, loosely means “a new day is born”. I can only guess this means a follow-up of sorts to “Save Me”, wherein we heard Cristina’s monologue and how no matter what, no matter the pain and grief and fear, she will revolt with everything she has.

The opera still continues in the background, but the heaviness creeps its way in slowly, with the guitars and drums, as the operatic Latin is still heard in the background.

A line right after, “I’m unmoving like a stone, this silence screams so cold, I wish I was so far from here” stuck with me. Could this be an unwillingness to move because of fear, and the fact of wanting to be gone, to be somewhere else physically or mentally?

This song seems like a breakup of sorts, either mentally or a relationship ending. There is an overwhelming sense of pain to be had either way. In fact, the lyrics of the entire song suggest that: pain, the ending of something that was once held so dear.

Progressing through the song, you hear a line “here I come, to show you all the wounds inside my heart“. This seems like someone’s heart has been crushed, destroyed, shattered.

Another line that stuck with me heavily was “I would destroy my own life to consume your soul“, this suggests a readiness no matter what, even if it kills them, to take that person’s soul, so they won’t be around anymore to cause more pain.

There was a time we looked down from the clouds, we climbed sky high, thought that we would never fall, how come you didn’t even try.” This line suggests that they went so high, enough to reach the clouds, feeling on top of the world, suggesting nothing could bring them down, and when one of them fell down, the other person did not even try to save them.

They damn sure put up no fight, it was easier to let it go, even though the other person wanted at least some kind of fight to be put up. So often, when breakups happen, we feel this way, and we feel the person who broke up with us did not even try to work things out. It was just easier to let go than to fight for what is right. After this line, the song goes back to the bridge leading into the chorus. First, a very nice guitar solo seeming to convey almost sorrow, symbolic of tears being shed. Afterward, we get back to the chorus.

After the chorus we hear “Here I want to start again, keep learning day by day.” Suggesting that they want so badly to move on, to forget the pain and start anew.

I’m afraid to see what I became, I know it will never be the same“. The suggestion here is right now, a fear that they have been changed, they have been corrupted in a way by what happened.

A short line “here I come, I know I will never be the same,” suggests to me “I am ready to greet a new day, and to heal, even if this experienced changed me, I have not given up the will to live, I will not keep my heart cold”. Back to the chorus again a few times, then the song gets softer and fades out.

“The End Is All I Can See”

In the beginning of the song you hear what appears to be electronic sounds, with sort of a distortion that is being felt. Soon after, you hear what sounds like knocking at a door. Then the guitar and drums kick in, but not so heavy, rather milder.

The first line “I am just realizing, this pain is almost like salvation“, suggests “I have finally come to the understanding that this pain is almost freeing, because I can focus on it, rather than focusing on what once was, the loss, the fear”.

It also could suggest a reprieve from sins, for their part in whatever happened, just like the line “clean away my sins” later in the song suggests, “I will do anything to fix what is broken, to reverse time so this never happened”.

Clean all my sins because I want to be with you.” This line suggests that “whatever I did for you to cause this pain, I want you to know that I am sorry for my part, clean those parts of me, so we can be together again”.

The evil within, stinging and burning, consumes me with guilt“. The suggestion here is whatever sins, as mentioned earlier that may be at fault, were the result of some evil thoughts, and a guilt is being felt from deep within that cannot be helped because those evil thoughts were never intentional, and they wish none of this ever happened. 

Maybe, going back to the other songs alluding to time, there is not a way to go back to change what has already happened. A lot of us, myself included can relate to doing things we regret, and wishing we had a chance to go back in time and fix them.

But I asked Cristina in an interview if she had any regrets or moments in time she wished she could change, and she said “maybe they are but they might change who I am right now, which I am pretty happy. So I wouldn’t change a thing”.

I only hope she and everyone else can take heart in the fact if you could change the past, you could be a completely different person right now, and friends could be out of your life, different things could happen, and is it worth the risk to change what is happening now?

The last words in the song you hear are “now, please answer my prayers, because the end is all I can see.” There is a suggestion that the prayers for redemption could be wanting to get back the moments time had stolen, to be given a second chance to prove that things can go back to how they were before.

After all, life is ever changing, every evolving, and some things are great, some things we embrace with open arms, but other times we hate ourselves, we hate others, we grieve, we have sorrow and immense guilt.

We are humans, and emotions can be our greatest ally, as they convey compassion, or they could be hindering us, but that is up to the interpretation of every human being in the world to decide for themselves.

“Save Me” 

“Save Me” starts with a fast-paced but slightly-subtle guitar sound in the foreground. As Cristina comes into the song, the pace gets faster, and the drums kick in with a heaviness.

Save me, from myself, I could use your strength right now.” This is among the first lines of the song, and suggests Cristina is her own worst enemy and she needs help, someone’s strength to keep her out of that dark place inside her head.

Something I feel many of us can relate to, as there have been many situations in which we have felt we are our worst enemy, and just like she calls out in the song, we look towards any source we can to save us from the mental torture we put ourselves through. 

So I keep asking myself will I be strong enough to face this mess“. This next line may suggest she is concerned if she will have enough strength to face the music and deal with what has happened. Will she have the strength to get out of her head, get out of that dark place to face what has transpired.

Cristina has a monologue at the end, a sort of reflection on what has happened, what has caused her to get to this point in her life. Maybe she feels guilt for something? 

During the monologue, Cristina says she hates what she sees in the mirror. Without giving too much away, she can’t turn back time but she is not giving up.

In that last line of the monologue, she sounds like she is gritting her teeth in a way that is the strength being summoned to get through the tough times. That driving force has come back ready to seek vengeance.

In Lacuna Coil fashion they don’t give up, they keep singing, keep writing, keep fighting, keep thriving, and most important, keep surviving. 

The heaviness of the guitars and drums ends, and you hear what sounds like a soft, sad violin in the background and a very low-toned piano hitting one note.

This was the bridge getting back to the chorus, because when you think the song is over the heaviness comes back to the chorus. Then at the end of the song, the heaviness fades again, hearing nothing but that soft violin-type sound slowly fade out, 

I cannot help but notice the song, overall, seems like there is a deep fear that is felt, a fear maybe Cristina cannot change what she has become because of what she went through. In addition, her greatest fear really could be herself, as hinted at many times, but that is just my interpretation. 

“Black Anima” (Prologue)

Not including bonus tracks, “Black Anima” is the last track of the album. This has a very ominous, haunting melody with something sounding like it is reverberating in the background with what almost sounds like a music box also in the background throughout the song.

There is a mix of emotions I feel with this last track. I feel the songs before were fighting what cannot be changed, and this one could be about acceptance of what has happened, though it also suggests anger later in the song.

Maybe it is at first sorrow for what cannot be changed, and as you go through the song they say “to hell with it”, “I don’t want to be sad, I don’t want to accept what happened, I will not be beaten down and I WILL keep fighting. 

The first line we hear is “The calm before the storm, clouds are moving in anticipation“. This could be about the storm that is brewing, and how they are ready to have the rain wash away all the anger, sorrow, grief, and pain from them. Ready to truly move on, they need to be relieved of all the toxic energy that has been built up throughout.

Further into the song you hear lyrics that suggest it is almost time and they are ready to build themselves back up as the storm has passed. They are ready to forget about the past, forget whatever happened, and they are ready to be who they once were before any of these terrible moments in life happened.

Later you hear Cristina and Andrea collaborating “our world is afraid and falling, pain, we are chasing the ghost that is trapped inside.” Maybe the “world”, they mention, is alluding to their life, their every day existence.

They are afraid of suffering, an ending, and the “ghost” trapped inside could be the past, and the only way to stop the world from crumbling is to destroy the “ghost” being the past from all memory, from any existence it ever had.

Almost the last line of the song say “all the walls that keep us separated, we will break them all, and reunite, and when I’ll be gone, you’ll keep our legacy alive“. Could this bring attention to the fact the “us” is referring to the soul, the “anima” that has been trapped for so long inside as mentioned earlier?

Back to the line “and when I’ll be gone, you’ll keep our legacy alive” could this be about the soul? When the soul is gone again, because of any more pain, and suffering, and grief, keep the “legacy”, which could mean the days when the soul was not broken or lost in time.

Break, smash, disarray, chaos, rise“. The final words from this album, and from this suggest a summary of the track. Destroying the past, smashing it with all their might, disarray and chaos ensue because the pain has been felt for so long, and there is a fear of the unknown, of what may happen, what is yet to come.

“Rise.” Rebuild, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, they will be reborn, just like “Veneficium” says “nova vis ad diem novum nascitur”.  A new day is born”. We are reborn.

I cannot help but notice that a lot of the songs have some correlation with time. Whether it be to turn back time or trying to fight time to get back what was stolen from them. Perhaps that is why “Layers of Time” was the first track released, as it represents that theme very well. I mean, after all, the track title has the word “time” in it.

This idea has stuck with me the entire time I have listened to this album and has become the theme overall, at least for me.

I can only then assume, the reason this album is darker, and heavier is because of personal loss. I truly believe they are dealing with loss on this record. As to what kind of loss, I cannot say with absolute certainty.

In addition, some of the tracks suggest mental torture, something tearing them apart. They may have lost themselves due to what they experienced,

All in all, this was a fantastic album to review, and the chills the Goosebumps, the sadness, (yes, I got teary-eyed through some of the lyrics), you can feel, and even relate in a way to their pain.

This was my first album I have ever reviewed, and I can only hope you like it, and I can only hope I have done it justice.

I give this hell of an album 5 stars, and not only because it was so well-composed, it was very dark lyrically, dark states of mind were definitely apparent, and the heavy guitar riffs and drum smashing just add to it.

Before ending the review, I have to say that if you made it this far, I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to read this review, I spent many hours on it, and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

I want to apologize at how lengthy this is, but I wanted to do a very thorough review of each song, as the artists spent a lot of time on this work, and it means a lot to them, so the least I could do was give a very detailed, in-depth review track-by-track, rather than an overall review, as that is what I felt this album demanded.

I want to give a huge thank you, even though it may not be warranted, to Cristina, Andrea, Marco, Diego and Richard for sharing this masterpiece with the world, and for sharing such private and intimate moments of your lives with the world.

Thank you also to Claire with whom I was able to review this record and Jess, founder of this webzine, for allowing me to be the trusted one to review it.

You all are the anima behind the music.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Interview with Melissa VanFleet

Interviewed by Jade | September 2019

First, thank you so much for interviewing with us. I absolutely love your EP. I’ve been looking for something like it for a long time. What was your inspiration for the EP itself? Did you go into writing it knowing what you wanted?

Thank you! I wrote the songs on Ode To The Dark over the course of two years without a specific collection in mind. I knew that writing was helping to get me through the dark mental place I was in dealing with OCD and anxiety. I thought they were biographical or based on other people’s stories I had heard but in actuality I was so deep in this dark place that I didn’t even realize until recently that the songs were about what I was going through mentally.

Where did you get the idea for the title track ‘Ode to the Dark?’ It’s a beautiful song and the name definitely fits the style and haunting feel.

I had the initial idea for the title of ‘Ode To The Dark’ while on the Wacken Full Metal Cruise II. I was inspired by stories I heard from fans aboard the ship about how metal was more than music to them and instead it was who they were. One of the stories affected me and I could strongly relate so I used inspiration from that for the lyrics. The song took me two years to finish.

What was your favorite song to work on?

I think my favorite song to record was ‘Marionette’ because I had to channel something very dark and evil. We turned off the lights while I was recording vocals and Marco [producer Coti-Zelati of Lacuna Coil] was laughing because he was talking to me through the glass but couldn’t see me since it was pitch black in the studio. That song is the heaviest in topic and tone for me and I had to go somewhere else in my mind to feel content with my performance.

Can we expect new music soon?

I’m constantly writing and recording new material for different projects, collaborations and to pitch to TV/Film.

What about a tour or a live date somewhere?

I miss touring and playing shows but lately I’ve been so inspired in the studio. I look forward to performing the new songs though!

I saw you in New York City with Lacuna Coilfor their 1.19 show. That seemed like such a big deal for you! And you were amazing. How did you feel about being able to perform with Cristina Scabbia?

It was a dream of an experience. I still can’t believe it was real. I have been a Lacuna Coil fan for over 15 years. During soundcheck when I heard Cristina’s voice come through my in-ears it hit me that I was on stage with one of my idols and I can’t even put into words how that felt!

Video © Shuvodeep De

You have an absolutely beautiful voice. Do you take lessons?

I appreciate that! I am self-taught. I play everything by ear. I learned to sing with the help of a karaoke machine from my grandparents. While other seven-year-olds in the neighborhood were outside playing I was sitting behind a couch in my living room recording myself and then taking notes on what I liked and didn’t like about my voice. I took it very seriously!

I was looking at the song trailers on your website and they’re gorgeous. Do you think you’ll do something like that again in the future? (https://www.melissavanfleet.com/film)

Thanks! Definitely. I collaborated with GHOSTWOOD on the trailers and he is brilliant. He helped bring my vision to life. Ideas are endlessly circulating in my mind and I’m now in the beginning stages of storyboarding a full-length music video.

Take this opportunity to talk about something you wish you could talk about in an interview if only someone would ask the right questions. Future expectations, personal feelings about your work, what you would like fans to know about you and your music…absolutely anything you want. We want to give artists a platform to be heard!

I am a very private person but lately I’ve been opening up more about mental health. It isn’t always comfortable to talk about and sharing your story can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but it is so important. There is often a correlation between pain and dark music for both fans and artists. Knowing that others are going through something similar when I am at my lowest point usually makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and when people hear my lyrics I want them to know that they are not alone in their suffering.

Thank you so much for answering questions for us! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for you in the future. Ode to the Dark is just the beginning of something major – I can already tell!

Thank you! I appreciate your support!

Review: Melissa VanFleet’s ‘Ode to the Dark’ EP

Review by Jade | September 18, 2019

Melissa VanFleet is a beautiful musician from Philadelphia with the kind of voice that makes you stop and listen. Her style of metal includes orchestra, piano and an Alternative Rock lineup that all around makes her very unique.

Raven: Miss VanFleet opens the EP with a slow melody that is also reflected in the other three songs the EP consists of. The emotions are real in this one – sadness leaks from every edge and imperfection, bringing the listener in and making damn sure they stay where they are until the message is taken in. With strong lyrics and haunting tones, a great blend of Alternative Rock using guitar pieces, this song stands out in the spotlight and demands the attention needed for the rest of the EP.

“Sometimes I feel I’d be better off dead.”

In our interview with Miss VanFleet, she speaks about music being a safe place from depression and mental illness. Lyrics in this song reflect that in ways only lyrics can.

“I can’t find my demons anymore – I’m pounding at their door.”

The message is deep and relateable.

Atrophy: (Definition: Waste away, especially as a result of the degeneration of cells, or become vestigial during evolution.) Another song that starts slow and builds, Atrophy is the second song of Ode to the Dark. While beautiful and haunting, the chorus is a bit repetitive throughout the song. This, however, does not take away from the mood or the intent of the song. Miss VanFleet’s voice more than makes up for it, hosting an impressive vocal trick for the word ‘deteriorate.’

“Atrophy – I deteriorate.”

Upon learning the definition of Atrophy, the song takes on higher meaning. It’s absolutely beautiful musically as well, with a nice focus on the guitar.

Marionette: With opening notes reminiscent of a music box, Marionette also kicks off with a slower melody. This doesn’t take away from the dark, fairytale-like essence that floats in and winds its way around the ears of the listener. The music picks up in rhythm with beautiful guitar work, and Miss VanFleet’s hypnotic voice singing a song of the unknown “She,” who, quite possibly, could be a different person or entity for everyone.

“She’s in the corner holding me down. She’s in the shadows dragging me around.”

Ode to the Dark: We end this beautiful EP with a ballad of pain dipped in beauty. The melody of this final song starts slowly and climbs at an enjoyably agonizing pace to its peak, finally reaching a heavier mood two minutes in. There are many emotions in this song, but not used in a jarring sense. In fact, the shifts and changes seem to be perfect, allowing the listener to follow along and feel the journey along with Miss VanFleet.

“Sing me a requiem as I lay me down forevermore. I pray my soul to find a paradise it never felt before.”


As others I’ve seen, my main discord with Ode to the Dark was the “one size fits all” pattern of all four songs. There didn’t seem to be any other method than the slow build up to a heavier rock pattern. The addition of orchestra and piano were a great choice, however, and the EP is far from lackluster. And despite that one dislike, I still give it a full five stars.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Interview with Cristina Scabbia on ‘Shallow Life’

Interviewed by Joshua Becker

Enjoy an older interview we did with Cristina Scabbia.

I can’t seem to find out how Lacuna Coil was signed to a record; would you be able to explain that to me, please?

We signed a deal with Century Media in 1997, right before we recorded our first EP “Lacuna coil” released in 1998.

I understand Lacuna Coil is recording another album to be released next year; would you care to tell the fans some information of it?

We are still collecting stuff and ideas. It would be premature to talk about the new album as the material might take a different direction as we work on it. We’d like to make it heavier than the precious records, even if ballads will be there anyway and more dark and obscure. We’ll see…

I am still very curious, even though this is an old subject the title 1:19; I would really like to know what it is about; my friends and I think it has to do with suicide; would you be able to elaborate?

We will NEVER answer this question… the meaning of the title is known to the band only, sorry!

As we all know the name Lacuna Coil means empty spiral, but how exactly was that name conceived?

Empty Spiral is actually not the accurate translation. Lacuna is an Italian/Latin word that means something like “lack” but not really. Something like an empty space. Coil means spiral. From there the translation into “Empty Spiral” that is also the name of our official fan club.

Seeing as how you have toured with Lacuna Coil all over the world, is there one place that you have been that you would like to see more, or one place you have not toured that you would like to?

From China to Thailand, from Philippines to Hawaii and so many other places. we are gonna get the chance to go to India in October and I can’t wait!!!

What are certain routines you perform to get ready for a concert?

Some little ceremonies are secret inside the band, like things we say and we do, so I can’t tell you… But we mostly warm up and chill out before the party starts!

What do you think fame has done for you in a positive way? That is, since you are a huge name in metal, what does that do for you as a person?

Beside having pictures in magazines and videos on tv, which is obviously cool, my life didn’t really change. I think it is really important to keep your feet on the ground and to be “normal” as much as you can.

Is there anything that we, the fans, do not know about you? Fears, hidden talents, etc.?

I am a little afraid of spiders, even if I love them, and I’m really good in preparing handmade pasta and focaccia!

When you are on stage performing in front of thousands of people, do you ever get nervous that you may mess up a song or do something embarrassing?

Not really about messing up a song, cause it’s all about fun on stage.What I am afraid of is when I am sick for whatever reason and my voice is not as good as it should be. I don’t want to disappoint our fans coming to a gig to see us.

The name for your latest album “Shallow Life” how exactly did the band come up with that?

We thought about the fact that in our society it happens very often that image is all and everything is really superficial. But there are also “superficial” things that are beneficial, like a football match to watch, or shopping with friends… the most important thing is to find the right balance and to stand up when important things are coming up in your life.

Where do you draw your inspiration for singing; that is to say, who are your role models or what bands do you take after for your inspiration?

I don’t really have role models or bands who are examples to follow, but I take inspiration from different things and people. My family, people who believe in their potential. Rock.

I saw you and Tarja Turunen at the download festival one time way back, before then did you ever know her or how was that?

We met way before Download. She’s cool!

As I am sure you have heard, you have a beautiful voice; I was wondering what your vocal range is; also, what type of vocals are you most prominent for?

I have no idea, I never took lessons and I don’t really care about my vocal range, I only hope to give emotion to people who listen.

What was the weirdest thing you have experienced by a fan as a celebrity? That is, what is the weirdest thing a fan has done or given you?

Uhm…we signed weird stuff, like a toilet cover… I once signed a dildo.I see a lot of tattoos related to us. Recently a guy got my signature tattooed on his arm… It happened before but that one was reeeeeaaally big!!!!!!!

Last question; because of the fame, do you sometimes wish you weren’t as famous as you are, because of the crazy fans and lack of privacy, or, do you not regret any of it?

I’m not Madonna, so I can have all the privacy I want, haha! The fact is… is so easy to not to be in the spot if you want to. I pretty much hide myself in public, I’m not an attention freak, at all.

Interview with Cristina Scabbia on ‘Dark Adrenaline’

Interviews by Joshua Becker & Jessica Clingempeel | 1.31.2012

This is the written version of our phone interview with Cristina Scabbia back in 2012. Enjoy an older interview! \,,/ —Jess

Jess: How is the tour going so far?

“Oh, it’s going amazing. Today we are taking a break out of Gigantour because we have a headliner show in Baltimore, so now we’re just like chilling out on the bus, you know waiting for tonight. It’s going great, though I mean Gigantour is phenomenal, everything’s good, we’re getting along in an amazing way with all the others, and the venues are pretty packed, and the reactions are great, so its all good.”

Josh: Did you guys run into any problems when recording “Dark Adrenaline”?

“No, not at all. No problems at all, because the material was ready, so all we had to do was to go into the studio and record it, but we didn’t get any type of problem, everything went super smooth.” 

Jess: How about funny moments while recording? Any embarrassing stories to share?

“Nothing too crazy because when we are in the studio we’re extremely focused and super scared because we want everything to be perfect. So, nothing super-funny or super-crazy, but, actually there was something weird about the studio in L.A. –-because the album is being recorded in-between Milano, our hometown, and all the vocals and the arrangements have been done L.A.—There was a rumor that there was a ghost in the studio, and we kind of experienced some weird moments where things were kind of moving by themselves, or a chair in a spot would move in a different spot without anybody touching it, so, that was kind of weird.”

Josh: Did the record company pressure you at all when recording to get it done quicker?

“No, not really, actually we finished the recording around September, and the album was supposed to be out in October, but then the label decided to postpone the release of the album. Just because they wanted to have more time to set up all the marketing plan—you know, all the labels and stuff. So we didn’t get any type of pressure, we just took our time to write the songs the way we wanted to, and we entered a studio when we felt ready—obviously you have to set yourself up to sort of a deadline, because you can’t really wait centuries to release an album, you know, you just have to be spontaneous in song writing, and don’t go over it too much, because then you risk to change it too much, and to make it look not spontaneous at all, and that’s really important for us.” 

Jess: Were there any songs written that you wanted on the album, but did not make it there?

“We had a couple of songs that are going to make it in special editions that are not in the album, and then we wrote a lot of stuff, but we left it behind because we usually don’t write complete songs and then we cut them out of the bunch of choices, but if we feel that a song has not the right potential to our ears, we just leave it behind. So, we wrote a lot of stuff, but not complete songs that we just like didn’t include in any version of the album.”

Josh: How is the album compared to “Shallow Life”?

“It’s different, just, the whole production is different, there are more solos’ its definitely darker, the vibe is way darker than probably any other albums we did. Its heavier—the sound coming form the original session is big compared to “Shallow Life” and the other albums, and its something curious because we used the same producer, and we talked with Don a lot because we were sure about the sort of direction that at least the production should have with this album, and we’re really happy about the results of the album. For the first time, the mixing and the mastering had been done in Italy from Italian people, so, its sort of like an American-Italian production.” 

Jess: What was the reason for making “Dark Adrenaline” darker than the previous albums?

“I think its due to the fact that in-between “Shallow Life” and the beginning of the song writing for “Dark Adrenaline” some members of the band went through kind of bad and sad moments in life, and as soon as we are inspired by life, itself everything we’re living, everything we’re experiencing goes straight to the song writing, as well as songs, and, sometimes in an unconscious way. When we finish the old record, and we started to listen to it we just immediately noticed that it was different from the previous albums we did, and something that we noticed, even after—since we started to let other people to listen to “Dark Adrenaline” before the album was being released, we just noticed that it was a combination in between the very old stuff, the very old Lacuna Coil stuff and the new stuff. This is kind of curious because it came out in a very natural way. We didn’t plan it, but it’s cool because its still part of us; we didn’t really change as people, Its still us, and its still what’s inside of us—it came out all of a sudden.” 

Josh: What creative elements helped determine the direction of “Dark Adrenaline”?

“We didn’t really know, we never really know, because in the past we used to just meet in the practice room, and create everything form zero there. Now, things have changed, because even if you’re in a different house, even if you’re far from the other members of the band you can still record ideas on a phone, or tablet, or on your computer, and to collect a lot of ideas that you can then present to the other members of the band, and, sometimes you can just send files—you don’t even need to be in the same place. So, we collected a lot of stuff separately and we gave it all to Marco, which is our bass player and the main composer of the music’ he put everything together, and as soon as we had sort of demos of the music ready, Andrea and I started to go to Marco’s house where he has his own studio, and we just started to throw ideas for vocals and to present the ideas we had about some ideas of vocals that weren’t based on any music that the other guys wrote. So, we put everything together and we started to go to the practice room altogether, just jamming to find out what we would like, and what we didn’t like, and that’s how it started, and everything came up.” 

Jess: How did the song writing process go and what inspired the tracks.

“We started to write in the end of January 2010, and, as I said we just took all the ideas and put them together, and we found out what we liked and what every member of the band liked, because there is a strong democracy in the band—its teamwork. We work altogether and everyone has to approve the tracks and be happy about it, so, we kind of used the same process, the same popular process of song writing where everyone has to be 100% happy about it. We started to work when we were inspired, because we can’t write on the road; we need to be back home in our own environment to be able to focus completely on the music, and to dedicate ourselves 100% to a new work.” 

Josh: Who did the majority of the writing process for this album?

“Marco our bass player, he’s the guy who puts everything together and writes the majority of the music, but everybody’s contributing, and Andrea and I are responsible for vocal lines and lyrics too.”

Jess: Concerning the song “Trip the Darkness” what was the meaning behind this specific track?

“It kind of represents the vibe of the whole album, it’s the fact that no matter what, if you are going through moments in your life that aren’t exactly happy, you can always find a good thing out of it. You can still, sometimes feel more alive because you are feeling something deep and something strong in yourself. The song talks about the fact that you have to try to go through this “darkness” and try to get out of it, to get out of the anger in a hopeful way because there I always the light at the end of the tunnel, and you can always reach it if you really wanted but at the same time you can still enjoy the darker moments for a while.”

Josh: What is the message you are trying to convey with “Dark Adrenaline”?

“We don’t want to send any message because the music—we write music because its therapeutic for us, its sort of a diary that we write day-by-day; we put all of our experiences in our songs, so we don’t write music to please other people or to share it, we basically are doing our own stuff and write to please ourselves, and its cool other people can share the same things we have, and the same things that we are saying. Sometimes, giving a different meaning, but I think its cool, it’s a cool thing about music that everyone can give a different interpretation according to the moments they’re going through, but we didn’t really need to send any message, I mean, we don’t want to teach anybody, we’re just writing music because we just love to do that for ourselves.” 

Jess: What are the plans for Lacuna Coil once touring is over?

“We’re going to finish the tour April 3, so we’re going to be home for two to three weeks to rehearse, because we’re not only going to play a few shows in South America with Lamb of God and Hatebreed but, also coming back for a headliner right now we’re playing in The States, and then it is going to be a lot of touring’ summer festivals in Europe, and the usual circle. You put out an album, and then you tour as much as you can to promote it.” 

Josh: If you could be any other singer for a day who would you be and why?

“I don’t know; Mike Patton, even if it’s a man, because he is one of the greatest singers ever, so—he can growl, he can go high and he has a lot of volume. It’s phenomenal, so, it will probably be him, either him or Freddy Mercury, preferably.”

Jess: What would you like to say to your fans?

“Well, I want to thank them so much, because, I mean we have been around for a while, and this is only possible if you have a strong basis of fans, and we say everyday that we owe them, because we write music, and they support us through the concerts they’re coming to see and through the albums they’re buying. This really important, because his makes it possible for us to continue to do what we love, and what they like, so, it’s a big thank you even if it sounds like the most obvious thing to say. You know, we try to thank them everyday through our pages, our Facebook and Twitter, Social Networks; we try to tell them, because its important for us to tell them everyday how thankful we are, and how blessed we feel, that we have such a great group of people supporting us.”

Interview with Cristina Scabbia on “Broken Crown Halo”


Interviewed by Joshua Becker
3/14/2014

Hi Cristina, first of all, thank you taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview. Second, I would like to congratulate you and the band on yet another fantastic record.

I see the band is touring with Sick Puppies this year. How is it touring with them?

This tour is so much fun and the bands are getting along in a great way. I’m glad we got the opportunity to be part of this tour.

Concerning “Broken Crown Halo,” where did you and the band come up with this interesting title for the album?

It is representing the fact we are all living in our own small little kingdom in which we are kings and queens and this kingdom can be “damaged” by everything that happens around it.

So we thought about the image of a broken crown and the “halo” that surrounds us.

How has the reaction to this album been thus far? Is this album being welcomed as much as your older albums?

The album is not out yet, so we don’t know. But the few songs we have release so far have had a great welcome, and they are being played on radio. People are already singing them out loud at our gigs!

I noticed the track listing for the new record, and I was curious as to why the overall theme of the tracks seem to be a bit dark, perhaps as if they were to depict a struggle or inner war that is being fought, yet at the same time a freedom from being bound by chains. What from your life, and or the band’s lives inspired these tracks and track names?

Real life is what always inspired us. We are not a band that talks about fantasy stuff, is simply not our stuff.

Last year has not been great in terms of private life, for some of us. I don’t really want to share the details but what happened has a huge impact on the lyrics, in a dark way.

It has been a sort of a self therapy for us, extremely liberating.

I heard the song “Die and Rise” yesterday, though I did not see you mention it specifically in an interview or social media. Was this an accidental leak?

No, no leaks. We put it out on purpose and it was actually the single for the United States , that ’s why like three songs were out at the same time.

Continuing with “Die and Rise,” I notice towards the end of the song there is a little bit of Italian in there, which I thought was great. What was the reason for putting Italian lines in that song?

We just liked it. We don’t really think to much about “why” we do something in a way or another. You don’t need a reason to let the inspiration and the creativity flow.

A lot of people seem to notice some similarities between “Comalies” and the older sound with “I Forgive (But I Won’t Forget Your Name.”) Have you or the band noticed them at all?

I started noticing it when someone pointed that out. I don’t find it weird… It is still us and the songwriters are the same. No matter the evolution , your come will always stay the same.

Over the years, do you think Lacuna Coil’s sound and vibe have changed, or do you think you and the band have stayed true to your roots?

Thinking about life without evolution is not realistic.

We all grow up, experience different things and we live and learn. Doing the “same album” over and over would be an offense to our fans and hey know we are not afraid to float in and out our rock metal roots being ourselves no matter what. Changing some things in your life and art doesn’t make you “untrue to your roots”, anyway.

I heard the sad news on Facebook the other day that Cristiano “Pizza,” Migliore, and Cristiano, “CriZ” Mozzati had retired from the band. My condolences to you and the Lacuna Coil family. If I may ask, what made their retirement decision; I read they were personal.. perhaps you could elaborate? How will this affect the future of Lacuna Coil?

Condolences? Thank God they are not dead!

They retired for personal reasons not related to the band or any fight in between us. I won’t tell more because I don’t want talk for them.

Life changes and it is fair to be wanting to do something different but we are stronger than ever and more motivated than ever so we are super happy.

Do you think being a female in a male band presents any challenges for you, or do you just feel like one of the guys?

I’ve never ever felt being in a challenge because I was a woman.

Lacuna Coil has been together about 16 years (20 if I were to count when you were also in Sleep of Right.) How or what do you think has kept the band together this long? Especially knowing it is becoming very common in the music business for bands to break up over “artistic” or “creative” differences?

Probably the fact we are all friends and we were working for the same goals. No ego, no bullshit out of music and friendship.

That is a big thing in a business that sometimes put together members in bands only in the name of the God Money.

On to non-band questions:

If I were to look at your music collection, or the band’s, what would I find?

Too much stuff to be mentioned, if you love music you have a huge amount of music. In our ipods or computers you’d find anything from ACDC to ZZTop.

Do you have any regrets or moments in time you wish you could change?

Maybe they are but they might have change who I am right now, which I am pretty happy. So I wouldn’t change a thing.

Has being in music what you have always wanted to do, or did you have another career path in mind before Lacuna Coil?

I honestly wasn’t planning to become a singer in a band. I always loved to sing but I was too shy. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do… I always lived day by day trying to take the right decision.

What is the best advice you would give someone who has big dreams for themselves, but don’t know how to make those dreams reality?

Be yourself, don’t be afraid to show who you really are and don’t stop dreaming but also be realistic, deep inside you KNOW what you are really good at, so GO FOR IT!